Planting starts: Motorists, be patient with slow-moving farm equipment

Tony Nye - OSU Extension

Hallelujah, planting season has finally arrived! Although not every field is ready for the season, it was great to see many farmers busy with farming activities this past week including planting of corn and soybeans, working ground, applying herbicides and fertilizer, and equipment preparation.

With planting season here and increased farm activity also comes more farm machinery roadway traffic. This is agricultural territory, so farm equipment on the roadways of Clinton County is a given.

I have seen some farm safety information from 2009-2018 where over half of the farm fatalities in Ohio were related to tractor use (OSU Extension Ag Safety & Health, Farm Fatality and Injury Database for Ohio). During this period, of the tractor-related fatalities, about 14% were the result of a roadway collision.

I saw a great comment on social media that put things in perspective, and I quote the unknown source, “Getting caught behind slow-moving farm equipment for two miles is equivalent to waiting for two traffic lights in the city.”

Remember, this is an agricultural community — there will be more and more farm traffic on the roadways in the next few weeks. Plan accordingly and get your act together and give yourself some extra time to get where you want to be.

Those that know me also know I like another comment, “You can’t fix stupid.” Drive smart not distracted.

Distracted driving is a continued concern on local roadways. It is important to remember closure time when coming up behind slow-moving vehicles. In less than 7 seconds, a motor vehicle traveling 55 mph will close 400 feet behind a tractor traveling 15 mph.

Being aware and anticipating farm equipment actions on the roadway will help decrease the risk of collisions. When approaching from the rear, watch for signals from the operator whether it be a yellow turn signal or hand signal. With larger equipment, often it is difficult for the operator to see traffic coming from behind.

Watch for upcoming farm and field drives where the operator may be turning before attempting to pass. If you are preparing to meet a piece of equipment, watch for guardrails, mailboxes, and road signs that may prevent the operator from getting over far enough to meet safely.

Farm equipment operators can do their part by ensuring their safety lighting and marking equipment are clean and functional. Using escort vehicles in both the front and rear may increase visibility and keep the operator in communication of upcoming hazards or situations while moving from farm to farm.

Finally, when possible, attempt to move equipment at off-peak motor vehicle travel times.

We all need to practice roadway safety, and remember “patience is a virtue.” A little bit of patience may save your life or someone else’s life.

Now hiring

Also, as planting season starts many students are finishing up spring college classes. Many students look for summer employment in the way of internships. There are a couple of local opportunities that are available that will make for great resume-building experiences.

The Clinton County Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Wilmington is hiring a part-time temporary Program Technician (PT). Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Duties include general office activities supporting FSA programs administered at the field level. Successful applicants must be reliable, have a professional attitude and enjoy working with the public.

If you are interested or know of someone who might be interested, please share this information with them. To apply, please e-mail your resume to [email protected]

Contact Kaitlin Roush at 937-382-2315, ext. 2615, if you have specific questions regarding the position.

OSU CFAES is seeking to hire two summer interns to work with the eFields On-Farm Research Program for May-August 2022.

Students will gain real-world experience in scouting, sampling and evaluating agronomic crops in Ohio, as well as designing and developing educational Extension and outreach tools to communicate scientific research results to the broader community.

Applicants should have experience or interest in one of the following areas: crop science, agronomy, agricultural communications, ag business and policy, or natural resources.

Primary responsibilities are: Facilitate the generation of the annual eFields report — Assist with data collection and entry for local eFields trials, participate in county level crop scouting, gain experience with data analysis by assisting with data aggregation and summary; assist with county level programming including Extension meetings, webinars, field days (regional and local); and, you’re encouraged to participate in farm visits, field days, and other activities.

This position is based in Madison County and in Crawford County. Contact Elizabeth Hawkins at 937-286-4849 or at [email protected] .

Tony Nye is the state coordinator for the Ohio State University Extension Small Farm Program and has been an OSU Extension Educator for agriculture and natural resources for over 30 years, currently serving Clinton County and the Miami Valley EERA.

Tony Nye

OSU Extension